Police Commissioner Milton Deir has been explaining a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for an upcoming basic Special Services Unit (SSU) Course.
The Police Welfare Association (PWA) has publicly disagreed with the requirement.
“We have to go by what the state says – there’s no mandatory vaccination by the state,” Police Commissioner Desir told the programme Police Insight on Choice Television.
But at the same time, he explained that the SSU course involves a lot of interactions, with most of the exercises done in pairs or small groups.
“If you are going to be interacting with other persons I think the best thing is to be vaccinated and also one of the reasons for that – you know we cannot gather now as a large group. So we had to consult with the Ministry of Health as to the protocols for hosting that course because the course was necessary,” Desir disclosed.
“This was one of the protocols – that persons would need to be vaccinated because the SSU course you cannot wear a mask because of the physical activities involved. It is rigorous training, rigorous exercise,” the Police Commissioner explained.
“If this was communicated in a different way and explained to persons, they would probably have understood what the intention was,” he told Police Insight.
The six-week paramilitary training begins on January 31, 2022, for new and prospective entrants to the SSU.
But according to a document dated October 21, 2021, obtained by St Lucia Times, only fully vaccinated candidates who satisfy the application and other selection criteria will be considered. The deadline for applications is November 30, 2021.